The leader of an armed group that took over a federal wildlife refuge building in Oregon on Saturday said the group, now called Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, won't leave until the federal government "removes its unconstitutional presence here in the county."
"We have a lot of work to be able to unwind the unconstitutional land transactions that have taken place here," Ammon Bundy, the son of notorious anti-government Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, said in a news conference Monday.
A local sheriff has said those occupying the building aim to overthrow the government, not help Dwight and Steve Hammond, the two local ranchers convicted of arson on federal land. Bundy said Monday he has not had contact with the Hammonds in days. Through an attorney, the family has distanced themselves from the protest group.
Bundy declined to answer questions about how many people are protesting alongside him. When asked if any Harney County residents were participating in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, he said, "No, not with us, their homes are much more comfortable than that." Julie Kliegman